Few families in Hollywood are funnier than the Smiths, who seem to genuinely enjoy each other’s company but also aren’t afraid to play a prank every now and again.
Family patriarch Will Smith is one of the most bankable movie stars in history, but at home, he’s just dad. The Independence Day actor shares son Trey, born in November 1992, with ex-wife Sheree Zampino, whom he divorced in 1995.
Two years later, the Philadelphia native wed Jada Pinkett in a ceremony held near her hometown of Baltimore. They welcomed son Jaden in July 1998 and daughter Willow in October 2000.
“From the time I was 6 years old, I wanted to be a father,” the Oscar nominee recalled during a June 2020 episode of Jada’s Facebook Watch series Red Table Talk. “I loved how my family was, but there were massive critical deficiencies in my father’s parenting that I wanted to correct.” He added that his dad, Willard Carroll Smith Sr., was very present in his life, but he had a volatile temper “that hurt my spirit.”
When his first son Trey arrived, he said he finally understood how difficult becoming a father would be. “I think that was my first moment of the real weight of parenting,” he explained. “I brought him home, and I remember we put him in the bassinet and Sheree went to sleep, and it was, like, stark terror: I’m totally responsible for this life. I just couldn’t stop going and checking. … I just knew I didn’t know nothing.”
As his kids got older, Will was open about the fact that he and Jada have their own unique style of parenting.
“The way that we deal with our kids is, they are responsible for their lives,” the Men in Black star told Metro in April 2013. “Our concept is, as young as possible, give them as much control over their lives as possible. And the concept of punishment, our experience has been — it has a little too much of a negative quality. So when they do things — and you know, Jaden, he’s done things — you can do anything you want as long as you can explain to me why that was the right thing to do for your life.”
That approach came in handy when Jaden asked to move out of the house at just 15 years old. “I remember thinking to myself, as devastated as I was, I was like, ‘He’s right. The time is now,’” Jada recalled in a 2018 episode of Red Table Talk. “I told Will when Jaden was smaller. I said, ‘We’ll be lucky to keep him in the house till he’s 16 because he was so mature.”
Ultimately, though, Jaden didn’t move out until he was 18. “See, here’s the thing. I’m not going anywhere,” the Karate Kid star told Ellen DeGeneres in 2013 when rumors were swirling that he wanted to be legally emancipated from his parents. “The thing that people don’t get is everything at this house is free.”
Keep scrolling for a look back at some of the Smith family’s most heartwarming moments: